It's time for Tuesday Reviewsday our weekly new music segment. This week we're joined by music critic Oliver Wang from Soul-Sides.com.
Album: Magna Carta Holy Grail
Songs: "Picasso Baby," "Somewhere in America"
Jay-Z's new album, part of that Samsung Galaxy 4 deal that was marred with tech problems the day of the album's supposed release. The album's gotten "ok" reviews but the general feeling is that there's isn't much — musically — that Jay-Z has left to do and his albums are kind of snoozy as a result.
Hip-hop needs some level of hunger and when you're Jay-Z, how hungry could you possibly be at this point? Also, he recently did a six hour video shoot/performance art piece at PACE in New York, basically rapping "Picasso Baby" over and over with invited guests and gawkers, Marina Abramovic style. -- Oliver Wang
Artist: Killer Mike with El-P
Album: "Run The Jewels"
Song: "Banana Clipper"
Maybe one of the best pairings since the days in which Chuck D and the Bomb Squad were rolling together, Killer Mike and El-P have worked together before (El-P produced Mike's excellent "Rap Music" album from last year), but this is the first time the two share equal billing and mic time. Loud, angry, brash, chaotic…all adjectives to describe their sound. Very politically infused at a time where this feels very rare amongst other rap artists. -- Oliver Wang
Artist: Boogaloo Assassin
Album: "Old Loves Dies Hard"
Song: "No No No"
Full disclosure: I wrote the liner notes for the group's album (their debut) but I've been fans of them since first hearing them about 5-6 years ago when they used to do a regular gig at The Mint in mid-city. Despite being from the Westside, the Assassins have really nailed the sound of East Harlem's Latin boogaloo sound from the mid 1960s. It's a sound that artists around the country, including in New Orleans and New York, have been steadily rediscovering and resurrecting. "No No No" takes Dawn Penn's classic reggae ballad and gives it the Latin soul makeover. -- Oliver Wang